Instead of targeting an individual that meets certain criteria, account-based marketing (ABM) also known as key account marketing focuses on appealing to individual prospects at key accounts or companies. Designed to align the marketing and sales departments to enhance customer acquisition, penetration, experience and retention activities, organizations that choose this form of marketing can manage a sustained business year after year.
In a competitive sales landscape, account-based marketing allows professionals to build strong relationships with people, using tailored messages throughout the marketing and sales lifecycle. B2B marketers tend to find the most success using this type of strategy, but any service provider may benefit from the approach.
Essential components of account-based marketing strategies include:
- Identifying prospective and existing accounts that are most profitable, not just leads, that are most likely to close.
- Aligning the goals of the marketing and sales team.
- Compiling account intelligence to build customized marketing and sales information.
- Using targeted messages that appeal to the holistic needs of the account.
- Continuing the marketing process after an initial sale (cross-selling/opportunity identification).
Anytime a marketing team collaborates with the sales department to create specific campaigns based on a single account, they engage in account-based marketing. B2B research firm SiriusDecisions released its 2016 State of Account-Based Marketing Survey in April. The survey indicates 70 percent of B2B companies are interested in, or are currently investing in, account-based marketing activities. Compared with 20 percent of organizations with comprehensive programs in place in 2015, 41 percent manage comprehensive programs today.
Technology-based tools including unified communications platforms, CRM systems, and marketing and sales analytics applications means account-driven teams can deliver streamlined and knowledgeable information to account representatives. Tapping into the power of collaboration between sales and marketing to build relationships, B2B organizations can create comprehensive and personalized plans of action to secure new and continued contracts. Account-based marketing prioritizes the quality of marketing and sales activities for improved ROI.
Tracking the return on investment for an account based marketing strategy is different than tracking the ROI of a broader based campaign approach more common today. There are generally three segments to track for success for ABM: Coverage, Engagement, and Results.
Coverage metrics might include Number of contacts at an account, the number of contacts with personas, the number of missing contacts at an account, the overall potential number of contacts at an account, down to each location that account might have globally.
Engagement metrics might include: Number of account touches for both sales and marketing, length of conversations between sales or executives and the target account, number of web visits from individuals at these targeted account, time spent on your website, number of meetings with target account, and aggregate of all engagement to track your penetration.
Result metrics might include: Number of deals, deal types, deal sizes, product expansion, depth of relationships, pipeline increases or decreases, funnel velocity (whether deals close faster or slower), and retention rates using net promoter scores (NPS).
IMA has assembled a list of Account Based Marketing Platforms and Tools on Martec Showcase. You can also check out our thought leader pages for one-on-one help with your ABM efforts.